On Friday June 6, Crime Stoppers announced that it is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Tarpon Springs Doctor Steven Schwartz.
Tarpon Springs Police detectives say on Wednesday, May 28, Schwartz, age 74, was found dead in his home at 1310 on Belcher Drive. Detectives say he died from upper body trauma and the murder did not appear to be a random act.
Police say a 911 call came at 9:22 p.m. Wednesday night from the doctor’s wife Rebecca Schwartz, who also resided at the home, who thought her home was burglarized. Police said that when they arrived at the home they found Schwartz dead inside the home, near the garage.
Officials said the homeowner is not a suspect. They said Rebecca Schwartz has been robbed before and that’s why when she found the house in disarray, she knew to back out and call the police right away. Detectives said they found the doctor’s body when they were cleaning the residence.
Friends of Dr. Schwartz remembered him as a dedicated worker. Dr. Jose Torres has known Schwartz for nearly three decades. He describes him as a colleague, a friend and an extremely hard worker.
“His patients loved him. He was a workaholic,” said Torres. “He was always at the hospital. It didn’t matter what time. If I would go to the hospital at two o’clock in the morning, Dr. Schwartz was there, four o’clock in the morning, Dr. Schwartz was there.”
Torres believes the killer is someone Schwartz knew.
“He had two big dogs in the house. So I question, how would the dogs, during this interaction, what happened. Because, apparently, the dogs were removed from the house healthy, so, this makes me wonder.”
Shortly after the murder, Tarpon Springs Police Chief Robert Kochen had the following letter hand delivered to nearby residents:
On or about May 28, 2014 Doctor Steven Patlin Schwartz was murdered while in his home at 1310 Belcher Drive. This is a tragic and sad event for the family of Doctor Schwartz and the community.
This letter is being disseminated to the residents along Belcher Drive and the adjoining streets to let you know that the Tarpon Springs Police Department, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Forensic Unit, and other law enforcement agencies (both local and State) are thoroughly investigating this murder in order to bring the person(s) involved to justice. Based on our investigation thus far we are confident that this was not a random act of violence, and that this occurrence was focused solely on 1310 Belcher Drive.
The Tarpon Springs Police Department will maintain a high patrol presence in the area of 1310 Belcher Drive and area residents are being asked to come forward with any information they have regarding the murder of Doctor Schwartz by calling 727-938-2849.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Doctor Steven Schwartz.
Chief Robert P. Kochen
Anyone who has information about the murder can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS or you can report a tip online at www.CrimeStoppersofPinellas.org.
Read more about the reward here: http://issuu.com/wflanewschannel8/docs/doc_reward_poster
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